* Posts by TiddlyPom

47 posts • joined 16 Nov 2011

Congrats, Satya Nadella. In just five years, you've turned Microsoft from Neutral Evil to, er, merely True Neutral


Microsoft neither love nor hate Linux - they just want to maintain their revenue stream

Microsoft are just a company and look after their own interests. Their business model still relies on users paying one off licence purchases or a subscription model (e.g. Office 36x). Embrace, Extent, Extinguish is still there. That is why Microsoft are adopting the Chromium engine - to try to stop the rush of people away from Edge. There is nothing remotely community minded in any of this. Having the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) is not about being 'nice' to the open source community. It is about trying to stop developers moving away to Linux onto Linux for their own day-to-day usage. The same goes in porting SQL Server to Linux. Companies are leaving WIndows Server for Linux in droves for their high-end server usage. Porting SQL Server to Linux makes perfect sense in terms of trying to maintain a revenue stream. As this article says, it is neither good nor bad just common business sense.

Buying Github means Microsoft can maintain a small revenue stream from some of their bigger customers. That's just running a business. It does not mean Microsoft have changed their spots. What Nadella has done is to move with the times and moniterize other revenue streams (like Azure). Businesses that do not adapt do not survive. Any reasonable CEO knows that.

I run Linux on both desktop and server and it works for me. I am one of the few Linux users who bother to play games on Steam. Running Linux on a laptop would not work for anybody who relies on particular proprietary software (e.g. AutoCAD) that does not run on Linux. I fully understand that. For most home users and many businesses it would. This is a big threat to Microsoft's business model (although whilst there are so few PCs or tablets preloaded with Linux, it is not much of a threat at the moment!). Nadella understands this as well hence the need to win hearts and minds - otherwise as stated by others, Microsoft becomes just another cloud provider. Many hate him but in terms of keeping Microsoft relevent and afloat, I think Nadella is doing a reasonable job.

Want to spin up Ubuntu VMs from Windows 10's command line, eh? We'll need to see a Multipass


Why use Hyper-V or even Windows for that matter?

Alternatively you could run VMs in VirtualBox (on Windows) and not bother with Hyper-V at all or you could install Docker for Windows and use containers instead. Even better you could not bother with Windows at all, run a Linux distribution as your main OS (Linux Mint, Ubuntu, Fedora, openSUSE - have a look at DistroWatch for ideas) and run Windows as a VM when you have to and use KVM (which is more efficient than either Hyper-V or VirtualBox). I have been running Linux as my main OS for over a decade now and would never look back. Not for everybody but works for me.

Neutron star crash in a galaxy far, far... far away spews 'faster than light' radio signal jets at Earth


Relativity - Great! But what about String Theory, Dark Matter and Dark Energy?

Albert Einstein's theories have been tested thousands of times and seem to be solid. The problem that I have with physics on a large scale (and cosmology) are the great cosmic cludges - dark matter and dark energy. They were invented to justify the Stradivarius constants necessary to explain the expansion of the universe. They have never been detected despite a huge number of experiments to somehow explain away their existence. There are other theories that do NOT need dark matter and dark energy but they are (in general) ignored because ... Emperor's New Clothes! Same with String Theory. It can never be proven (experimentally) because strings would be smaller than the Plank Length (and thus can never be seen/resolved). It's a philosophy (or religion if you like). There are alternatives (such as Loop Quantum Gravity or the Electric Universe) but try defying the establishment! Grasshopper, you have much to learn... (and all that)! Maybe relativity works differently on larger scales?

Spies still super upset they can't get at your encrypted comms data


Re: The biggest threat to law and democracy is the erosion of the right of silence

That's not how it works at all. The Police bully you to try and get you to admit to a crime that you have not admitted. RIPA is used as a threat to force you (under duress) to divulge passwords (even assuming that this is possible - not in the case of long computer generated passwords!) or even to admit to a crime that you did not commit in order to avoid a longer sentence. No proof required. After all, you *might* know the password and the file *might* contain terrorist information or *might* contain illegal pr0n. This is not about a conventional "find the evidence then convict somebody" case. It it about bullying somebody until they give in. As an example, if you are *accused* of child related chimes then of course you *must* be guilty or *must* be a danger to the public even if there is no evidence. Same with terrorism. After all, public safety is everything isn't it. Human rights should only apply to non-criminals, right?


Human rights are universal. Beyond reasonable doubt cannot apply if there is no evidence or this is just somebody's opinion/story. Look at the false accusations of child abuse where this has been the case - especially the high profile cases. Beyond reasonable doubt does not apply if there is no evidence and yet plenty of people have been convicted in the absence of such. Much easier for the Police if they don't have to PROVE you're guilty isn't it...


The biggest threat to law and democracy is the erosion of the right of silence

There have been a number of cases in the UK using the (illegal) RIPA legislation (and subsequent replacements) to force individuals to give up passwords with the threat of years in prison hanging over them if they do not reply. I automatically generate long hex passwords for encryption containers so (deliberately) I would be unable to remember the passwords. Customer data needs to be protected especially in the cloud. What then? You threaten to jail somebody who cannot comply with something that they are physically unable to comply with in any case. What about the right of silence?

This is psychological torture and as such is illegal under human rights legislation (and international commitments against torture). This legislation has been used to threaten (and imprison) people who do not comply. This is the start of tyranny and state sponsored torture. If you happen to agree with torture and waterboarding then fine but I don't. This is no better. It doesn't matter if the person is a criminal or even a potential terrorist. You cannot torture them. That is against international law. Psychological torture is still torture.


Re: They will change the target in legislation

How are you going to force people not to be able to connect between two arbitrary computers? Anybody can set up a server in the cloud. Nobody will know. You LUKS encrypt the server. You give the address to known people. You restrict the addresses to particular people and harden the firewall. You set up (say) OpenVPN on there. You run an encrypted IM server but over VPN links (with VPN running over port 443 - HTTPS). How do you legislate against that or even detect it easily? It is TRIVIAL to set up encrypted end-to-end chat. What about using it as the first step and then peer-to-per encrypted chat?

It is too late. Even suggesting that it possible to do this (practically) is nonsense - especially if you use TOR and hop IP addresses all the time. You can try and legislate all you like. Look at China as an example. They still haven't managed to stop all encrypted end-to-end links.

We cannot trust spooks. It is VERY important that we have end-to-end encryption. It is our one weapon against tyranny. Laws against encryption will not help the man in the street against criminality. It will just hurt you and I. Criminals who use encryption do not care. Many of these are state sponsored by foreign countries in any case.


Too stupid and too late

Does these people have more than the brains of a garden snail? If you try and put back doors in encryption then there are plenty of open source encryption systems to use instead. You cannot put the genie back in the bottle. You can always use an extra layer of encryption over a potentially hackable transmission channel. So criminals use TOR (or even Freenet) and swap information in a Veracrypt container file. What then? Are you going to try and ban all open source development on encryption? Good luck with that. What about code or software outside the 5-eyes countries? Will potential terrorists or other people obey that ban?

What about Torchat or a myriad of other new encrypted IM chat clones? Even if you ban existing encrypted channels then other will spring up. What if you tunnel your encryption over HTTPS (443)? Are you going to ban encrypted web links? What about bank/financial traansactions?

Too stupid and too late. The 5-eyes Panopticon is dead.

Heads up: Fujitsu tips its hand to reveal exascale Arm supercomputer processor – the A64FX


Re: Why no ARM servers?

This is where open source applications have the benefit. If you have the source code (assuming it is pretty much architecture independent) then shifting platform becomes little more than a recompile. As a trivial example, I have developed Java applications on x86 then run them on ARM (on a Raspberry Pi). I have also written Qt C/C++ applications on x86 and recompiled them for ARM. KVM/QEMU virtualization works fine on ARM (but obviously depends on the features of the particular ARM chip).

ReactOS 0.4.9 release metes out stability and self-hosting, still looks like a '90s fever dream


Use case for ReactOS

As somebody who has used Linux as my primary desktop for over a decade now (maybe longer), my own situation is that I cannot see a reason for using Windows at all in any incarnation (whether that be Windows 10 (I use Linux Mint Cinnamon), WIndows Server 2016 (I use Zentyal) or a clone like ReactOS. I am a heavy development user and I play games as well (Steam) so Linux covers all the bases as far as I am concerned. I am even starting 3D graphics (Blender and MakeHuman) so Adobe Maya - I don't think so!

The problem is that there are no PCs with a good and modern Linux desktop to buy for the average punter. Yes you CAN buy a Dell XPS or System 76 if you are in the know but I am talking about the average Joe or Jane here. If there was a well specced laptop available with Linux Mint or Ubuntu sold by PCWorld, Argos, Tesco and more importantly there was a good explanation as to why Linux had some advantages then I think it would sell in droves. I like Fedora as well but it would have to be LTS for the average person to cope with it. But there aren't any Linux PCs sold on the high street because - Microsoft and bribery.

ReactOS is a niche operating system for cases where there are legacy programs that need to run and money to be saved by not increasing the Bill Gates retirement fund.

A fine vintage: Wine has run Microsoft Solitaire on Linux for 25 years


Why do I need Windows?

Interesting how WINE is viewed somehow as necessary on Linux? I have used Linux as my primary desktop OS for years now (maybe getting on for a decade), use LibreOffice 5.x at the moment and swap document with colleagues and friends and have very few problems. OK sometimes I have slight formatting issues but it is no worse them I had moving between versions of Microsoft Office in the past. I have programming tools, databases, music software, games (both open source and under Steam). I play with GIMP and Blender for 2D and 3D graphics. My system runs Linux Mint and is fast, stable and reasonably secure. No OS is completely secure and that applies to Linux as much as Windows but I keep everything locked down and am as careful as I can be. If you love Windows then great, enjoy it. Linux works for me. Even if it is only for 1-2% of the population, the year of Linux on the desktop happened a long time ago. I don't think I have ever used WINE.

Microsoft Edge shock: Browser opts for Apple WebKit, Google Blink


Re: Microsoft need to accept that they are not the only game in town anymore

Yes I was thinking of developers. Yes using VM technologies (like VirtualBox or VMware) on a Mac is OK but why not be able to run SQL Server under the host OS? I can see Linux being the main platform for SQL Server in the not-to-distant future. Me, I'll stick with PostgreSQL, MariaDB or NoSQL solutions.


Microsoft need to accept that they are not the only game in town anymore

If Microsoft went back to producing software with "value added" that people could buy on multiple platforms aka Windows, macOS/iOS (as they WILL merge at some point), ChromeOS/Android and Linux then they would improve their position. As it is they have lost their mojo.

Running Edge on Android is an interesting idea but Chrome (browser) is fast, reasonably efficient and cross-platform. Why would I want to? Open sourcing Edge is a great idea and might persuade people to look more at Microsoft tools but Microsoft are sending mixed messages.

Porting SQL Server to Linux is a great idea but SQL Server Management Studio is Windows-only. How about being able to run SQL Server natively on macOS? Why not rewrite all standard Windows applications in C# (or C++ for things that need efficiency) and PORT them as well. How about having Microsoft Visual Studio on Linux as well? Yes it would remove the lock-in but it would also allow people on other platforms to use Microsoft software (if they wish to do so).

Microsoft have some interesting ideas and successes (such as Office 365 and Azure) but many failures as well. Windows 10 GUI breaks the principle of 'least surprise'. In many ways, it is a step backwards from Windows 7 (and don't even get me started about Windows 8).

I am a Linux user (my current distro of choice is Linux Mint Cinnamon). It is not perfect but is fast, stable, much lower on memory usage than Windows and has a vast range of software available on it. I am also trying out Ubuntu Mate (skinned as Linux Mint Mate) on a PineBook (ARM based laptop). It just works. Come on Microsoft become a better community member and just maybe it might help you as well.

UK Home Office re-bans cheap call gateways because 'terrorism'

Big Brother

Re: VOIP over VPN?

This is nothing to do with breaking the law. This is to do with the fact that I want to be able to have conversations with my friends and family and know that I am not being spied on or having my conversation recorded by government spooks. The right to privacy is an important part of a democratic state. The state should have to go through due process in order to gather information on me not just spy on everybody because they can. I do not accept the 'if you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to fear' brigade. Just look at levels of corruption within the Police and within Parliament. The right to silence (or privacy) is one of the few things that protect us from malign elements within the state which is why they (Police and Government) want to take that away.


VOIP over VPN?

It is not difficult to set up (say) a Linux Virtual Machine running the Asterisk Open Source SIP (Voice of Internet) Exchange + VPN server (e.g. OpenVPN) and then set up open source SIP clients (say Linphone) over VPN clients on two phones and use these. Make sure you have a fixed IP address and use that rather than any DNS look-ups. Oh and use (say) HTTPS ports instead of standard VPN ports. There are other high encryption (such as Tox). Technical users can inspect the source code and make sure that there are no government hooks for monitoring.

How are you going to monitor that? D'Oh!

GNOME Foundation backs 'freedom-oriented' smartphone

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Shame RISC-V is not ready yet

If the GNOME foundation wanted a system that was completely free from proprietary software (and firmware) then (ideally) it should be running on a RISC-V processor (MIPS-like open instruction set architecture licensed under BSD license) - but obviously that is not an option - yet. gcc 7.1 will have full RISC-V support and RISC-V support is planned for the 4.15 release of the Linux. Obviously way in the future but it could be something that a freedom oriented smart phone should encourage.

Revealed: 779 cases of data misuse across 34 British police forces


UK Police Corruption is endemic

The UK Police is rife with corruption and none of the investigations have come any closer to lowering the level let alone eradicating it. Anybody remember Operation Countryman (plenty of corruption found, nobody was ever successfully prosecuted). The IPCC was described as the following in a 2012 report - "woefully underequipped and hamstrung in achieving its original objectives. It has neither the powers nor the resources that it needs to get to the truth when the integrity of the police is in doubt." The more powers (and IT resources) that the Police are given, the greater will be the misuse of them. Nobody (who has any common sense) trusts the Police these days. Just search on YouTube and watch some of the videos on Police corruption (which are horrifying). UK Police routinely break the law in order to achieve the outcomes that they want or their own agendas. I cannot see monitoring systems improving things unless they are overseen by an external agency which is impartial and not controlled by a government agency. The government (or any party) will not let that happen as it might look a bit too closely at their corrupt antics (or their snouts in the trough) too. Turkeys do not vote for Christmas.

House fire, walk with me: Kodipocalypse now includes conflagration


UK.GOV and Big Media - Kodi is evil because ... we do not control it!

Kodi is just a highly configurable open source multimedia centre and is NOT responsible for piracy! If somebody CHOOSES to use Kodia in that way then THEY are responsible for their OWN actions! Big media do not like Kodi because they do not control it (and it is pretty easy to write your own plug-ins). UK.GOV (and Big Media) do not like ANYTHING that they do not control. Obviously if you have any freedom of thought (or freedom to use a computer or media centre in the way YOU want to) then it must need controlling or banning - I mean allowing the public to THINK - yikes!. Anybody selling a media PC (Android or otherwise) running software not sanctioned by (1) UK,GOV, (2) Big USA Corporations or (3) Big Media MUST be evil mustn't they...?

Well, that escalated quickly: Qualcomm demands iPhone, iPad sales ban in America


What about (say) the threat by Intel to sue Qualcomm and Microsoft over x86 emulation technology in Qualcomm's Snapdragon chips (as an example)? If you want to take part in a fight then expect to be hurt. I suspect that the chickens are coming home to roost and more and more litigious US companies will find themselves (in turn) being sued by other non-US companies who are fed up with being bullied over obvious anti-competitive practices. It is about time that the whole patent/IP/copyright shenanigans was overhauled. It is so obviously being used to stifle competition across the globe (primarily by western companies). I expect a lot more attacks on household name companies like Apple if they continue to play as unfairly as they have in the past.

Post Unity 8 Ubuntu shock? Relax, Linux has been here before


Losing Unity 7/8 is not the end of the world!

Linux Mint is polished enough (I would argue more polished than the dogs breakfast of Windows 10) to be both a home and enterprise desktop - and I use it both at home and at work. I can understand Ubuntu wanting to go with GNOME desktop as that is an easy path to Weyland and getting rid of legacy stuff but IMHO Cinnamon (and MATE for that matter) are just so much better - at least in the more polished form that Linux Mint present them. I do not think for one minute that Linux Mint is without problems (as are all operating systems) but a polished Cinnamon desktop running on top of Weyland would be a great thing.

Unlike many others I did quite like Unity 7 and am sad that Mark Shuttleworth's dream of Linux desktop convergence did not materialize but pragmatism and listening to the community (more) are a better path forward. Current GNOME is a bit clunky for me but just maybe Canonical can polish it a bit more that it becomes a (more) usable desktop. My future is with Linux Mint (especially as they are moving over to LightDM which I always did after an install) but there are plenty of choices. The end of one desktop manager is not a big thing. We have many others.

SQL Server on Linux: Runs well in spite of internal quirks. Why?


Re: Interesting

I have worked within the Open Source and Linux domain for years and have yet to come across anybody in that field who would want to deny anybody a choice of platform. Open Source software is all about choice. In my case, I do prefer Linux but hey if somebody wants to use Windows or OS/X (or another platform) then that is their choice and good for them. What is a bad thing (IMHO) is any sort of lock-in that ties people to a particular platform. That applies to Linux as much as any other. I applaud Microsoft for porting SQL Server to Linux (giving system administrators another choice for deployment). It is a crying shame that Microsoft have not ported Microsoft Office and Visual Studio (full version) to Linux as well (using the cross-platform ability of .NET) just as LibreOffice, MariaDB, PostgreSQL, and Eclipse and NetBeans run on Windows and OS/X just as well as they run on Linux. That is the joy of cross-platform software - it gives you choice. That was how Microsoft used to be - "Hey guys - look at this amazing new version of Word we have brought out!" rather than a lock-in strategy. Microsoft will secure their future by being good community member rather than trying to browbeat competitors into submission.

We want GCHQ-style spy powers to hack cybercrims, say police


The name "Police" is outdated - should be "Ministry of State Security"

If the Police want to have GCHQ style hacking and spying powers then considering their importance in the fight against terrorism and cybercrime (does that include dissent against the UK?), they should have a new name to reflect their importance. How about "The Ministry of State Security" (or as East Germany (GDR) used to call them - "Stasi").

UK.gov's Open Source switch WON'T get rid of Microsoft, y'know


Can we drop the FOSS insults - calling open source fans 'Freetards'? There is nothing retarded about wanting to use software which gives back to the community. I donate to Linux distributions and to LibreOffice. I would rather do that than add to the Bill Gates/Steve Ballmer retirement fund. I have also written open source software and given back to the community. If UK schools and public authorities (such as councils, government offices, Police etc) were to switch over to open source software such as Linux, LibreOffice, GIMP rather than Windows, Microsoft Office or Adobe Photoshop, it would save the UK millions. Canonical (which fund and develop Ubuntu - one of the most popular Linux distributions) is a British company. The Raspberry Pi is a British invention and most of them run Linux.


Open Document Format and Open Source Software is Freedom NOT 'Freetard'

*Sigh* at the risk of feeding the trolls (including the one that wrote the article).

People who want common inter-operable document format (like ODF and PDF) and abhore lock-up formats (such as Microsoft's docx, xlsx, pptx - and this applies also to OOXML which is very difficult for other vendors to use) are not 'Freetards'. They want choice and are using common sense.

Microsoft has had a near monopoly for nearly two decades on desktop/laptop systems (with the exception of Apple systems which are even more locked down). PCs sold in shops are not 'Microsoft' computers. They are made by independent hardware manufacturers and can run any operating system that the user wants to put on them. Why therefore if I go to a mainstream computer shop do I face a complete monopoly? I cannot buy a (non-Apple) computer running anything other than Windows (and in most cases using anything other than Microsoft Office). If (say) everybody was forced to buy nothing other than Microsoft mobile phones there would be an outcry or if everybody had to buy O2 SIMS ("but hey you can buy ANOTHER one if you want to!").

This is about stopping a monopoly which has gone on for far too long.

Users of open source software are not 'Freetards' - we are less retarded (or mindless) than those users who cannot be bothered to find out about other alternatives and continue to pump money (unnecessarily) into the employee retirement funds of large (usually American) multi-national corporations.

Canonical (who produce Ubuntu) is a British company so if you support Ubuntu you are supporting British IT. They plough millions into producing a polished Linux distribution that anybody can use should they want to (as do Red Hat who produce Fedora, The Debian Project and the myriads of other distributions). Android (which is the most popular smart phone/tablet operating system) is a (somewhat specialised) Linux distribution and is open source software. Most of the world's supercomputers run Linux as do a significant majority of the servers on the Internet. Facebook, Twitter, Google, YouTube, Linked-In and Whats-App are all based on open source software. The Raspberry Pi (of which over 2.5 million have been sold - especially to school children) runs Linux (Raspbian based on Debian). Linux is everywhere - in set top boxes, burglar alarm systems, Tesla Sports Cars and industrial control systems. It runs the USA Whitehouse web site and still runs most of Skype (despite that now being owned by Microsoft).

I work with and use open source software on a daily basis - as a desktop operating system at home and work (I use Ubuntu - and have donated money every time a new release has been made). I also contribute to open source software directly and donate software back to the community. I use LibreOffice at work and home and swap documents (with the minimum of fuss) with other users using Microsoft Office and Google Docs. (I have also donated money to LibreOffice).

Who is the most retarded - somebody who voluntarily donates money to open source projects (such as Linux and LibreOffice) so that everybody can benefit and everybody can download and use the software - for free and completely legally - or somebody who insists that everybody should be locked into one software vendor and have to pay significants amounts of money for every licence on every computing device they own. I want choice - and if anybody wants to run Microsoft Office on Microsoft Windows or Apple OS/X that is fine - but fully interoperable document formats (like ODF and PDF) give that choice. Please strike the 'Freetard' moniker off the list and think before you use it.

ARM Cortex-A73: How a top-end mobe CPU was designed from scratch


Re: How about an octal-core ARM based laptop/netbook?

Absolutely no problem with Chromebooks and yes they are great hardware. My workhorse Linux laptop is a second hand Chromebook (Acer C710 from eBay @ £92) with CoreBoot reflashed with SeaBIOS running Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (updated to 8GB RAM and with a 128GB SSD). Great little laptop - love it - but this is not an installation process that the majority of people would be able (or willing) to do. Yes I know you can do the Crouton thing but if you accidentally 'reset' your Chromebook you wipe out your data. If somebody would sell a laptop set up (from boot) to run Ubuntu, Linux Mint (or another similar easy-to-use distribution) even if it was x86 (like the Acer C710) that would be great (especially using CoreBoot). What would be BETTER would be an ARM laptop which is just as powerful but uses 1/2 or 1/4 of the power.


How about an octal-core ARM based laptop/netbook?

Looking at the power efficiency of ARM vs x86, why oh why don't we have any decent ARM based Netbooks? As a Linux user myself, I would like to see an Ubuntu ARM based laptop - Canonical sit up and take note please! Recently I set up a Raspberry Pi 3 (with an mSATA SSD) to run Ubuntu Mate 16.04. I expected it to be very laggy and barely usable but in fact it is a very usable little machine and can run Firefox, Thunderbird, LibreOffice or almost anything I want to on it (I have even run the Eclipse IDE on it)! The 1GB RAM is a bit restrictive although having swap on the mSATA SSD helps. Now imagine (say) a laptop with a 2GHz octal core 64 bit ARM CPU and a decent amount of memory (lets say 8GB) running full desktop Ubuntu Unity with (say) a 256GB mSATA SSD and then imagine the battery life and usability. Chromebooks (with Android Apps) are good but full a Linux laptop would be better. Come on guys, your ARM chips can do far more than just run phones!



Microsoft needs to adapt to competition, learn cooperation and not be dependent on monopoly

For as long as Steve Ballmer can remember, computer users have used personal computers are their primary computing device and these personal computers have been pre-loaded with Microsoft software. This has meant (in effect) an enforced monopoly for computer users and a guaranteed income for Microsoft. In addition, Microsoft prevented competition by rigourously enforcing their own proprietary 'standards'. Not for much longer. Many users do not have PCs any more - just phones and tablets. In addition, many of these devices are far more web centric and standards complient than any Microsoft based software. Personal Computers are not dead just yet (especially in business) but the percentage of users that cannot get their work done without Microsoft software has dropped significantly.

In my opinion, Steve Ballmer is an inherent part of the old world and has not adapted well to the current situation. Opportunities are out there to make money across the computing world. Make Office 365 work equally well on Windows PCs, Apple Macs, Linux PCs, iPads and Android Tablets perhaps even iPhones and Android phones and you are on to a winner. Provide services that people want and can interoperate with other vendors/open source software and people will trust you. Create devices (like the XBox One) that work well as a home hub and you will make a fortune.

Microsoft need to stop their anti-competitive practices and start working with other companies and increase their market share by creating products or services that people want - like in the good old days when Bill Gates was in charge.

Open wide, Google: Here comes an advertising antitrust probe


And its SO HARD to use other services if you want to isn't it!

What about Bing, Baidu, Ask.com, DuckDuckGo, Yahoo (and many more I haven't mentioned)! Google does NOT have a monopoly over searching, email, map or cloud services on the web (even if it is a market leader). Compare that with trying to buy a generic PC WITHOUT being forced to buy a copy of Windows (or you could have an Apple Mac if you are prepared to pay 2-3x the price). Just occasionally you can find somewhere that will sell a ChromeBook and I there are a handful of places in the UK that you can still buy a laptop without Windows being preinstalled. Funny how this much more serious monopoly is not being taken apart (across the world) whilst Microsoft attacks Google claiming anti-trust when they have their own search services, email services and cloud services! Why compete by offering decent alternatives when you can compete in the courts to try and prevent other companies competing with you!

Euro PC shipments plummet into bottomless pit of DOOOOM


Perhaps the enforced Microsoft Windows monopoly does not help...?

Why not offer a choice of operating systems rather than offering customers "Windows 8 - take it or leave it" (or perhaps Windows 7 if you are lucky) - or if you are very rich an Apple MacBook. Why not try offering ChromeOS or perhaps one of the "mainstream" Linux distributions like Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora or OpenSUSE (rather than unknown and frankly unfit for purpose distributions like Linpus which is all that has been offered in the past). PCWorld sell several Chromebooks on their website but when I walked into one of their stores and asked to buy one - all bar one of their staff had never even HEARD of a Chromebook and they certainly did not have any on display (in the store that I visited) or have any in stock. Maybe this would not affect flagging sales (as many families just use iPads or Android Tablets now) but it would offer read CHOICE - something that has been missing from PC Sales for perhaps a decade.

Gnome cofounder: Desktop Linux is a CHERNOBYL of FAIL


Miguel promotes proprietary software and should not be taken seriously by the FOSS world

Considering that Miguel has been lauded by the .NET community and his company is selling development products for Mono (which is supposed to be cross platform) that won't even run on Linux or Free/OpenBSD I would not take any of his comments seriously. If he likes Apple Macs then good for him but I think his comments are irrelevent. I have developed on Windows (yes even including Windows 8), Apple OS/X (up to "Mountain Lion") and various Linux distributions (sorry BSD guys - I don't think your distros are any worse but just prefer Linux myself) and Ubuntu, Mint and RHEL/CentOS (which I use mostly) are excellent desktop operating systems to use on a daily basis. I am writing this on a Lenovo T410 running Ubuntu 12.04. Miguel just wants to put down the open source world and promote proprietary software which is what he is (mostly) involved with now.

You've made an app for Android, iOS, Windows - what about the user interface?


There are lots of cross-platform solutions

Most of the open source toolkits are cross platform as that is one of the major design criteria for open source systems. Proprietary toolkits are (generally) designed to lock you into a particular platform such as .NET for Windows or Objective-C/Cocoa for Apple OS/X or iOS. It could be said that Android's UI code (authored in Java) and the Dalvik run-time engine lock you into Android but as both the Android operating system and Java/Dalvik code are open source this is perhaps less of a problem.

IMHO, the most sensible cross-platform toolkit for applications is HTML5 which is what is being adopted by the FirefoxOS as the development language and by PhoneGap and Mozilla WebRT


Write applications which are not just cross-platform but completely independent of where they are hosted (either on a server through a browser or locally on a client). These are the sorts of technologies which will ulimately kill off client locked technologies like .NET, Objective-C/Cocoa and yes even Android/Java.

Linux Foundation ships UEFI Secure Boot workaround


Re: sign your own software

GPL is *dangerous* - oh yes it certainly is (especially GPL V3 which protects against software patents) as it protects the open source community from self-serving corporations like Microsoft, Apple or Oracle who would like to subvert/destroy open source projects by embrace/extend/extinguish. The GPL protects the community and so ENHANCES user security! Anybody who relies of security by obscurity is asking for trouble - that is how public key encryption first came about - the more people know about the METHOD of security, the more that method can be checked for flaws by the community.

YouTube's hilarious cat videos could soon cost you $5 a month

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Why not PAY GOOGLE to have NO ADVERTS in YouTube content

That way, those who are prepared to pay get a better service (i.e. no intrusive adverts) but those that don't want to can still see the content but interspaced with advertising.

Now Microsoft 'actively investigates' Surface slab jailbreak tool


Treacherous Computing

This is Microsoft 'Trusted' (aka Treacherous - http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/can-you-trust.html) Computing taken to the next level. You cannot run ANYTHING on the computer unless it is approved by Microsoft. Luckily there are now alternatives and if Microsoft carries on like this then they will lose market share. I just hope that this happens (to some extent), their realize the folly of this approach and learn from their mistakes. Computers should be there to allow people to use them in whatever way they want to - not for companies (like Microsoft, Apple or other proprietary vendors) to take that choice away.

HMRC hops back into bed with Microsoft, finds purse £10m lighter


(km123) This is about Government POLICY overriding a PREFERENCE for Windows

The whole point is that open source software MUST be considered as a possible option whether on desktop computers or servers. If you already have Windows then you HAVE to consider other options even if you eventually end up renewing the current contract.

Have you ever tried to buy a PC recently which was NOT preloaded with Windows? Only a handful of companies will do so in the UK at the moment. This is an ENFORCED MONOPOLY on the desktop and would not be allowed in any other sector and should have been investigated and BANNED by the monopolies commission long ago.

I suspect that no real attempt has been made to TRY to use anything other than Windows.

I am working in a commercial company, and typing this up on a PC running Ubuntu 12.04 (and yes I swap documents with Windows and Mac users). It is just as viable a platform as Windows in many cases. With desktop/laptop PCs being a dying platform, I suspect that their decision will end up costing them dear in the long run.


So was using open source desktops considered AT ALL?

See this statement

"We will continue to open up government procurement, create a level playing field for open-source software and split large ICT projects into smaller components."


Level playing field - I don't think so. I think they just rubber-stamped another decade of Microsoft lock-in rather than honestly looking at alternatives. Perhaps HMRC feels more at home with Microsoft as Windows is effectively a 'tax' on open source community (PC users).

Why not follow the Spanish example and save (a LOT) of money!


Barclays is starting to get the message as well


'Holey code, Batman!' Microsoft to patch 12 vulns on Tuesday


Re: reason for Patch Tuesday

Have a look at these




Randomly not being discovered is not the same as being secure! It might be (using your analogy) that nobody was looking for the coins BUT if people suspect that the coins are there and then systematically hunt with metal detectors then they will find them. In the same way, many hackers systematically probe for open ports, suspected TCP/IP stack defects or similar flaws and if they discover a chink in the armour they exploit it.

That is why we use public key crytography and not hidden keys. It is inherently more secure, trustworthy and tested than a hidden key that (if revealed) will break open the system. What if one of the developers of the closed code system silently leaks the security secrets to a hacker group (which has happened several times)?


Re: reason for Patch Tuesday

Security by obscurity does NOT work.

Many eyes make light bugs.

If lots of people can see the code then many people can help to find possible exploits and fix them - and many 'exploiters' like to help with open source code as they can see what they are doing. I have helped fixed one particular stack smash bug.


Re: Microsoft Fixes

Patches - good, virus scanners - bad as far as I am concerned :) Everybody finds security holes but patching architectural problems (especially those which break binary compatibility) is harder on proprietary operating systems than open source systems.

For comparison:

Ubuntu Security Notices: http://www.ubuntu.com/usn

Ubuntu Updates: http://www.ubuntuupdates.org/

Red Hat watch list: https://www.redhat.com/archives/enterprise-watch-list/


Re: Microsoft Fixes

I run Ubuntu 12.04 and "Update Manager" has just run indicating 18 updates (50.9MB). As an example of a security flaw/report - https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/apparmor/+bug/1045986

There are a LOT of Linux patches - some are simple bug fixes and some are security flaw fixes as per Microsoft's release and I usually apply all of them (and could set them to be applied automatically as per many Windows boxes). You should view these in the same way as people view updates to the virus scanner database in Windows - except that these security flaws are actually being fixed rather than a virus scanner having to defend against unpatched security flaws in the operating system!

Security in Linux is not perfect by any means and yes a Linux system can be infected (I did a system penetration testing course on doing this - which is scary when you find out how to infect your own machine - which I did on a test machine - and it certainly makes you tighten up the security!) but having real fixes and patches beats anti-virus updates hands down. My Mum and Dad's machine is set just to update automatically (and they are no techies).

What is more scary (to me) is cross platform zero day exploits (like the recent Java one) which perhaps should be flagged by The Register as they have the ability to hurt Linux users as well. Having said that, most Linux users that I know do not enable the Java plugin in the browser and would not arbitratily run any old script!


Microsoft Fixes

As a Linux user I actually applaud Microsoft for releasing more fixes - but the persistent architectural flaws within Windows are causing many of these problems.

Ironically it is one of the reasons for the success of Windows that causes many of the problems - binary compatibility with programs dating all the way back to the days of MS-DOS. In order to support all of the 20+ years of applications, Windows must support all of the quirks and flaws in the architecture (and security models) of earlier versions of Windows in order to guarantee that earlier applications will run correctly on the latest version of x86 Windows. The most secure (and efficient) copy of Windows is undoubtedly the latest Windows 8 RT (ARM tablet version) that is NOT binary compatible with any earlier versions of Windows!

Open source systems (like Linux and FreeBSD) in which the SOURCE CODE is available for applications do not have to worry about compatibility between major releases of the operating system (or kernel) since the application is just recompiled (by the Linux distributor) against the new system library code. That means that earlier binary code almost certainly will NOT run on later versions of the operating system but ironically this also means that historical attacks on earlier Linux/FreeBSD BINARIES will probably not work on a later versions of the operating system as these have been recompiled (and in many cases changed). It also means that architectural flaws can be fixed (which break binary compatibility) - something that proprietary software vendors (like Microsoft and Apple) cannot do as they do not have access to the application source code.

Virus scanners give the ILLUSION of security as they use a black list of N known threats. As soon as (N + 1) appears then you are open to attack. It also means that as time goes on, the system gets slower and slower as it has to check against more and more threats, The proper way to deal with flaws (and all operating systems have them) is to FIX them as soon as they are known (as Microsoft is doing here and should be applauded for doing) - not trying to detect bad code at the last possible instant using a virus scanner!

In addition, Unix/Linux style operating systems (like Apple OS/X, Linux and FreeBSD) work on a 'sandboxed' security model in which a standard user has the least possible file privileges (i.e. can only modify their own files and NONE of the system files - to modify the system requires using admin (root) privileges for the shortest possible time). As a second safeguard, having additional restrictions as to what known applications can do - even with root privileges (as provided by AppArmor and SELinux) helps to prevent using these applications as an attack vector. As a third safeguard, having a standard (restricted) method of installing applications from known (and GPG key checked sources) - such as APT or YUM - reduces the likelyhood of introducing rogue applications - as does centralized App stores.

UEFI and 'trusted computing' does not make the system more secure (and there are UEFI viruses now) - just lock out competition which is what they are for.

Microsoft should ditch direct backwards compatibility but do as Apple did (with the move from OS/9 to OS/X) by having an emulator to run Windows 7 (and earlier) applications in a protected 'sandbox'. Only by breaking with the past can they fix long standing architectural flaws and remove the need for virus scanners forever.

Windows Firefox stiffs Adobe Flash, plays H.264 YouTube vids


H.264 = Proprietary lockin (forever) on the web, VP8 is about freedom from lockin

This is so damned depressing. We were very close to releasing ourselves from the damned proprietary lock-in propagated by the payware operating system vendors - Microsoft and Apple and backed up by the patent troll MPEG-LA - but now Firefox capitulates and backs proprietary lock in as a WEB STANDARD! That means we bake the need to pay these leeches into the very fabric of the web. A horrid Christmas present if there ever was one.

Apple tries to add Galaxy Note, Jelly Bean to patent slapfest


Bet they won't attack their friends Microsoft over the MS Surface - only FOSS foes

Microsoft almost certainly competes with Apple on their core turf but as tMS have such a low market penetration - Apple don't view them as a threat whereas Android Phones/Tablets are far more successful than Apple overpriced cr@p so therefore have to be attacked by any anti-competitive means possible.

I did have an Apple Mac - have sold it and bought new a PC (from PCSpecialist - who sell PCs WITHOUT WIndows) and it runs Ubuntu 12.10 beautifully. Like many here I will never buy another Apple (or Microsoft) product. Well done Apple - you have lost yet another customer due to your idiotic anti-competitive lawsuits.

Microsoft licensing hike sparks UK piracy, bankruptcy fears


Re: Chris W

I too use whatever I need to get the job done. I use Linux, Windows and OS/X on a daily basis.

My 'mission' (as you put it is) to show people that Windows is OPTIONAL - and that there is another option which is free, more secure and just as easy to use. If someone is happy with Windows then that is their choice - but if they are AWARE of another option then they can make their own mind up.

Both my children (12 and 9) use Linux (their choice) - they were both offered OS/X and Windows (I had another 2nd hand Mac which I later sold) - both love the fact that they can legally download and use whatever applications they want :)

TOS - I don't think so! Neighbour booted up laptop from live CD - took defaults from install (partition-wise) and asked one question (about doing updates during install). After reboot he needed one piece of help (to be pointed to the Medibuntu page) and needed no help from me (just did the cut/paste as directed on the page). Everything else was done from the Software Centre. Machine prompted him to load NVidia drivers (which he did).

Total time - about 40 minutes (including actual installation from Live CD). After a glass of beer to celebrate (+ showing off using Firefox + LibreOffice to his wife).

When Windows 8 appears and everybody has to relearn a new Windows yet again as with XP-to-Vista or Office 2010 - perhaps you will be shouting out about how much effort is required for people to migrate over and how much they have to read. No - I thought not :)

Linux is NOT harder than Windows and is just as suitable for the "rank and file" (as you put it) as Windows is (or for that matter OS/X).

Methinks you are terrified of people actually discovering that the "hard to use" FUD is just that - FUD. If a 12 and 9 year old child can use it as easily as Windows (and they actually think that Windows 7 is harder and non-intuitive) then so can anyone else.


Reply to Chris W

I have heard the FUD about Linux being harder to manage rolled out so many time over the years, Perhaps a decade ago that would certainly be true but not today.

Right. Not a fair comparison is it. Most people buy a laptop with Windows fully installed and configured and then just use it.

My next door neighbour has an Acer laptop . It was running Windows 7 and running slowly with virus scanner, malware scanner, Acer supplied unnecessary software etc. He asked me what I used.

I helped HIM install Ubuntu (he kept a paper log of what he did). About two hours later we have everything working (including multimedia). The laptop was MUCH faster under Ubuntu. He loved it and is still using Ubuntu and has loaded Ubuntu onto two friend's computers.

This is very much a typical experience. Modern Linux distributions (like Ubuntu, Fedora, openSUSE, PCLinuxOS etc) are EASY to use and to administer. Epic FUD fail!

Do you think that Microsoft and Apple are attacking Linux (Android, Red Hat and other distributions) for no reason? Do you honestly think if Linux was that hard to use then they would be bothered?

FUD fail again.

Modern Linux distributions have graphical application managers which are very similar to App Stores in iOS and Android (by the way - Android IS based on Linux so anyone who is using an Android device is already using a Linux distribution!)

Have a look at Ubuntu Software Centre - and decide whether the comment above is FUD


Fail and FUD again :) Much easier than installing software on Windows IMHO!

Not everybody will like Linux - that's certainly true but at least if there were PCs running Windows, OS/X and (say) a couple of Linux distributions then there would be better choice.

BTW anyone who thinks there are no games for Linux have a look here:


Finally - if you want some REAL propaganda - look here



Why not migrate over an OS developed by a UK company Ubuntu/Canonical

Well technically Canonical have created a distribution as the development is world wide. I have used Ubuntu as my primary desktop in a work environment for just under 5 years now. In terms of substitutions:

* Ubuntu 11.10 instead of Windows 7

* Ubuntu 11.10 (with SAMBA, OpenLDAP + GOSA) instead of Windows Server

* LibreOffice 3.5 instead of Office 2010 (can now read Visio files as well)

* CUPS-PDF to generate PDF outputs

* Mozilla Firefox 10 instead of Internet Explorer 9

* Mozilla Thunderbird/Lightning 10 instead of Outlook 2010

* OpenProj instead of Microsoft Project

* GNUCash instead of Quicken

* Zimbra (or Citadel) instead of Microsoft Exchange

* Alfresco instead of Sharepoint

* MySQL (or PosgreSQL) instead of Microsoft SQL Server 2008

* GIMP instead of Adobe Photoshop

* Empathy instead of MSN

* Eclipse instead of Visual Studio

* Jira and Jenkins instead of MS Team Foundation Server

I can just hear the Microsoft supporters scoffing now. Not any longer. The dream IS possible. You do NOT need Microsoft OR Windows.(at all) - yes really (and yes I do swap documents/emails/messages and interoperate with people running Windows).

Instead of buying Windows licences - why not donate money to open source based companies (like Canonical or the Fedora Foundation - much better value for money.


FUD fail. It is no harder to run a PC with a modern distribution of Linux than Windows - in fact many ways much easier.

Have a look for yourself:





http://www.libreoffice.org/ (an office suite)

Just think how many £millions we could save in schools and government if we migrated from Windows to Linux - and not be tied to one (nearly) monopolistic vendor.

Instead of scoffing - why not (absolutely legally) download a copy of a Linux distribution and TRY IT!.

Apple's request for HTC ban delayed again


Both Apple and Microsoft are malicious anti-competitive companies

Software Patents (and some of the other patents to be honest) are not about protecting inventions from malicious copying - they are about preserving the market places of BIG existing AMERICAN companies at the expense of competition from anybody else.

Nobody seriously believes that the HTC Phones are a blind copy of the iPhone. To be honest I think that Android is a FAR superior operating system to iOS but that is my own opinion. If people like iPhones they will buy them - why should we be forced to buy overpriced Apple hardware/software and lock ourselves into Apple's "walled garden" where there are cleverer, cheaper and more open alternatives - clearly better.

If Apple cannot compete on merit then they certainly should not be protected by a clearly anti-competitive ruling designed to stop FAIR COMPETITION.

The same applies to the enforced monopoly of Microsoft Windows on desktops/laptops due to the anti-competitive practice of enforced pre-loading of their bloated, buggy and virus-prone software. Why should I be forced to pay for products that I do not want.

Microsoft moving embedded systems to Windows 8


Windows has very limited embedded systems penetration

Microsoft is not 'moving everybody over to Windows 8' - in their dreams! They have particular markets where Windows (XP) IS in embedded systems. Scarily SCADA (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SCADA ) control applications (like electricity systems, water system or gas control systems) tend to be Windows CONTROLLED (although the actual actuator systems are RTOS (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RTOS ) or embedded Linux (e.g. http://www.windriver.com/products/linux.html ). EPOS systems (like tills) tend to be Windows XP as well. Most other embedded systems are RTOS or Linux - for instance nearly all set top boxes are Linux. What they mean is that they are PLANNING to migrate the Windows XP Embedded (or Windows 200x Embedded) systems over to Windows 8 (which is probably a good idea in some ways as Windows XP is a dead product).


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